Letter: Emergency text technology needed in town

To the Editor:

A number of people hope they never have to call, 911. This has been the universal number to call for Emergency assistance since the 1970’s. However, with recent advances in technology, many people do not have home phones any longer, using just cell phones. Most of those people a majority of time just text message. However, if they attempt to text message 911 in many communities, like Trumbull, the delivery of their text message will fail. AT&T and Verizon Wireless later this year will complete implementing text to 911 capabilities on their networks making the weak point the fact that most 911 answering centers are not texting capable.

The equipment is available to receive 911 text messages; the issue is the implementation of equipment has not been done yet. I think we as a community need to make this a priority. The Federal Communications Commission has and is urging communities to implement text to 911 systems because of the safety benefits they can bring. Take the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting for example. The next generation text to 911 systems includes the ability to send pictures as video to the 911 operator as well as general text messages. With Text to 911 the victims inside the school could have sent pictures to the 911 operators as well as had their message heard without the shooter being aware of their activities. This ability could also be benefited during a car accident, by assault victims to name a few.

With the focus on school security, we should be focusing on all areas of safety not just in schools. Incidents are occurring around the nation on a more rapid basis and this improved ability may assist in the emergency response.

With the changeover, soon voice calls many become a thing of the past. How are we to get emergency response then if we are not ready? This solution has been piloted in communities in Vermont with much success and the FCC is now urging communities to begin getting ready to the changes to come.

The Town of Trumbull should not be lagging behind; we are located in the richest county in one of the richest states in the country. We need to refocus our political efforts and take care of what matters. Otherwise the technology will pass us by and leave us in the dust.

Mitchell Lewis